Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Markets edge lower on worries about interest rates

Dow lost 29, decliners over advancers 2-1 & & NAZ went up 2.  The MLP index slipped 1 to the 536s & the REIT index dell 3+ to the 309s.  Junk bond funds were mixed to lower & Treasuries sold off.  Oil fell after supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, climbed for the 5th time in 6 weeks & gold inched up a smidgen.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

CLV14.NYM....Crude Oil Oct 14...92.26 Down ...0.49  (0.5%)

GCQ15.CMX...Gold Aug 15.....1,253.60 Up ...1.50 (0.1%)

3 Stocks You Should Own Right Now - Click Here!

Ukraine Cease-Fire
Photo:   Bloomberg

Ukrainian pres Petro Poroshenko said Russia has withdrawn more than 2/3 of its troops from his country as EU govs meet to consider imposing tougher sanctions against the Kremlin.  “According to the latest information from our intelligence unit, 70 percent of Russia’s troops have been recalled across the border,” Poroshenko said.  “This gives more hope that the peace initiatives have good prospects.”  The talks today follow the EU’s abrupt decision this week to put on hold for at least a “few days” a 2nd package of economic penalties against Russia over its encroachment in Ukraine.  The delay offered more time to assess the viability of a truce in Ukraine without risking further trade retaliation by pres Putin who has always denied any Russian gov involvement.  The planned sanctions include barring some Russian state-owned defense & energy companies from raising capital in the EU.  Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said he believed the EU will decide in favor of more sanctions & that the measures will come into force on Fri.  “Finland’s stance is crystal clear: we support sanctions,” he said.  “This is a matter of war and peace.”  Angela Merkel told parliament today she backs additional sanctions on Russia while noting that the new penalties could be lifted if the peace plan holds.  Meanwhile, Russia is limiting natural gas being piped to the EU in order to restrict supplies being sent to Ukraine by reversing pipeline flows, Ihor Prokopiv, the CEO of Ukraine’s state-controlled gas transport company Uktransgaz, said, adding that Poland stopped its reverse flow of gas to Ukraine today.  The Sep 5 truce between Ukraine & pro-Russian separatists has raised the prospect of ending the conflict.  Poroshenko indicated he’s willing to grant more autonomy to some eastern regions of Ukraine.  He said a draft law on “temporary self-governance in certain districts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions” will be submitted to the parliament next week.  He stressed that both regions in easternmost Ukraine will remain part of the country.  Rebels have released almost 700 Ukrainian nationals they were holding, he said.

Poroshenko Reports Russian Pullback as EU Mulls Sanctions

After pioneering the smartphone market, Apple is moving away from its focus on smaller screens.  While bigger displays make it easier for a younger crowd to read digital books, play games or watch movies, the large screens also let people who need reading glasses boost the size of the font & images on their smartphones without sacrificing screen real estate.  Slightly more than half of consumers planning to buy a smartphone will opt for a larger device, according to a recent survey.  “Samsung did sort of create this phablet market, but I think that doesn’t mean that Apple wouldn’t benefit greatly by moving into this direction,” said an analyst at Forrester, referring to products that are considered an amalgamation of phones & tablets.  “The average age is getting older and clearly visual acuity declines in that situation.”  The 4.7" iPhone 6, which will have rounded edges & a thinner frame than earlier models, will cost $199-$399 with a 2-year contract in the US, while the larger 6 Plus is priced at $299-$499.  The will ship on Sep 19 in a limited number of countries.  At 5.5" inches, the heftiest iPhone is more than 1/3 larger than the last model, in terms of screen area.  It’s also larger than one of Samsung’s leading devices, the Galaxy S5, which has a 5.1" screen.  The iPhone 6 Plus is just slightly smaller than the Samsung Note 3, which is 5.7".  Other phones made by LG & HTC Corp. are also 5" or larger.  Larger displays are increasingly critical for users as they absorb more digital content through mobile applications & the internet.  That’s coming at the expense of voice capabilities that once were more central to phones.  The stock was fractionally higher.  If you would like to learn more about AAPL, click on this link:

IPhones With Bigger Screens May Find Eager Buyers Among Seniors

Apple (AAPL)

Microsoft, a Dow stock, is in discussions to acquire Mojang, the software company behind the popular game Minecraft, for more than $2B, according to leakers.  A purchase of Mojang would be the biggest deal struck since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in Feb . Nadella has been shifting the company’s focus more toward Web-based services & cloud computing.  It has also renewed a push to woo serious gamers to the Xbox, following a lackluster attempt to turn the system into a device to serve up broader content such as movies & music.  If a deal is reached, MSFT plans to pay for an acquisition with cash held overseas which would have favorable tax consequences for MSFT.  The software maker calculates it can boost sales by expanding the number of game users thru MSFT's position in video games & computers, & by expanding licensing for things like toys & movies.  Minecraft is made for multiple platforms including consoles, computers & mobile devices.  Mojang has sold more than 54M copies of the game in all its forms. The stock lost pennies.  If you would like to learn more about MSFT, click on this link:

Microsoft Near $2 Billion Deal for Minecraft Maker

Microsoft (MSFT)

Stocks are sloshing around again, looking for direction.  The Ukraine situation may calm down with a truce, but that is far from certain.  Thoughts about low interest rates & how long they will last are weighing on the markets.  For the time being. markets are in a quiet mode.

Dow Jones Industrials

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